Maputo, 16 Oct (AIM) – Ossufo Momade, leader of Mozambique’s main opposition party, Renamo, on Sunday rejected the results so far announced for the municipal elections held last Wednesday, but ruled out any return to war.
Speaking at a Maputo press conference, Momade claimed that Renamo had won in at least nine municipalities – Maputo and the adjoining city of Matola, Nampula, Quelimane, Vilanculo, Marracuene, and a string of towns along the Nampula coast (Nacala, Mozambique Island and Angoche).
In all these places, he said, Renamo had the polling station results sheets (“editais”) that proved its victories.
“Those editais and the polling station minutes are valid documents”, he stressed. “It wasn’t me who signed them. We have the valid results sheets”.
Renamo also intended to take its protests to the courts. “In those cities and towns where our polling monitors were expelled by the police, there are already complaints presented to the local courts”, said Momade.
He also announced a “general demonstration” in the municipalities “to repudiate any manipulation of the results”.
This demonstration would begin on Tuesday, but Momade stressed it would be peaceful. He blamed President Filipe Nyusi and the Mozambican police for any “risk of instability and social convulsion”.
The demonstration “will be continual”, he pledged. “We do not want a violent demonstration, we want a peaceful one. Its duration will depend on the behavior of the regime”.
When reporters pointed out that Renamo has already surrendered all its weapons under the DDR (Demobilisation, Disarmament and Reintegration) programme, Momade declared he has no intention of going back to war, and the use of weapons is not the only alternative open to Renamo.
“Do you young people want us to go back to the bush?”, he asked. “For the love of God, we have to respect the fact that the Mozambican people are tired of wars.”
Momade was speaking as the counting of the votes continued. The Mozambican process is unwieldy and involves five separate stages. Immediately after the election, the votes are counted at the polling stations.
Then these results are tabulated district by district, in what is known as the “intermediate count”. Then the district results are compiled into 11 provincial counts. The National Elections Commission (CNE) approves (or rejects) the results, and then sends them on for validation and proclamation by the Constitutional Council, the country’s highest body in matters of constitutional and electoral law. At any stage in this lengthy procedure, there can be appeals.
By the time of Momade’s press conference, most of the “intermediate counts” were known, and they granted victory to the ruling Frelimo Party in every municipality bar one – the central city of Beira, which remains under the control of the second opposition party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM).